ORONO – The opposition will be more difficult from November on.

But the University of Maine basketball teams looked pretty good Sunday afternoon in a pair of exhibitions at Alfond Arena.

The men topped Division III Fisher College of Boston, 91-45.

The women beat the University of New Brunswick, 78-62

“I recognize the competition will get stiffer,” men’s coach Ted Woodward said. “But after two weeks of practice, it was good to play someone else. Our guys played with a lot of energy. Had a nice chemistry.”

New women’s coach Richard Barron said it was good “to see us against another team. Got stuff on film, so we can teach.”

FRESHMAN GUARD Justin Edwards of Whitby, Ontario, led the men’s team with 16 points, showing the potential that had him recruited by bigger programs, including a visit to Missouri.

Edwards, generously listed at 6-foot-3, showed smooth moves and a deft scoring touch. He was 7 of 13, including 1 of 3 from 3-point range.

“He certainly showed some of the things he is capable of doing,” Woodward said. “We have confidence in a lot of those (freshmen).”

Freshmen guards Xavier Pollard (12 points) from the Bronx, N.Y., and Noam Laish (six points, three assists) of Israel also contributed.

Another freshman guard, Stefano Mancini of Falmouth, played only one minute, recording one steal. Mancini, coming back from a hamstring pull, returned to practice two days ago.

AMONG THE VETERANS, 6-9 junior center Mike Allison had 15 points and 16 rebounds. Senior guard Gerald McLemore scored 14 (four 3-pointers).

THE MEN’S INTERNATIONAL flavor was displayed near the end of the first half, when all five Black Bears on the court were non-Americans: Edwards, Laish, Allison (Lynden, Ontario), freshman guard Zarko Valjarevic (Serbia), and freshman forward Kilian Cato (Finland).

IN THE WOMEN’S game, 6-2 junior forward Corinne Wellington and 5-9 sophomore guard Ashleigh Roberts each scored 13 points. Shareka Maner, a 6-1 junior, added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Freshman guard Rebecca Knight of Alfred (and McAuley High) scored five points, all on free throws, and added three rebounds and two assists. Another freshman guard, Courtney Anderson of Greene (and Leavitt High) had five points and two assists.

FOOTBALL IS THE rage on the Orono campus as the Black Bears took over sole possession of first place in the Colonial Athletic Association after their 41-25 win over Villanova, coupled with Towson’s 35-30 loss to Delaware.

Maine is 7-1 overall, 5-0 in the CAA. Towson (6-2, 4-1) dropped into a second-place tie with New Hampshire (6-2, 4-1).

The Towson loss took away some of the hype for their matchup at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Orono, but it is still obviously a big contest for the Black Bears.

With seven wins, Maine is now eligible to receive consideration for an at-large bid to the NCAA playoffs if it doesn’t earn the CAA’s automatic spot as conference champion. The Black Bears have three tough games remaining — Towson and Massachusetts at home, and at New Hampshire.

The Black Bears are off to their best start since the 1989 team began 8-0.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

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Twitter: ClearTheBases